FYI: Many of the links below are my affiliate links. If you follow these links and make a purchase, the vendor may give me a commission as a Thank You. I absolutely, 100% know, like and use all of these resources, and recommend them to my own mom. (Really, the only thing in this list she doesn't use is the Cricut.)
Artisan 6 – For storybooks/photo books and any sort of personalized photo gift or card, my go to software has been Artisan 5 (and it's predecessor Storybook Creator) and now Artisan 6. I've been using this software since it was first released almost a decade ago. After trying out other software, which I do use from time to time, this is still my go-to creative software, digital scrapbooking and otherwise.
Historian 4 – For photo organization and PRESERVATION, I again, use Historian 4. I've been teaching this software since the first release of Memory Manager over a decade ago, and it has never let me down. I have not yet found a software or service that makes me feel as comfortable about the safety of my photos as this program.
BUT – if I only had the ability to do ONE thing for my photos, it would be … Permanent Photo Storage by Forever. This is the one thing that I trust MORE than Historian. In a nutshell, Forever offers private, permanent photo storage that you pay for one time, like buying a safe, and then that storage space that your photos live in is YOURS for your lifetime, plus 100 years (at least). Those photos are upgraded to current digital file formats as the industry changes, so you or your descendants will still be able to access and use those photos in the future as technology changes. This is the best investment I've ever made.
Digital Artwork and Other Resources
As you may know, I'm big on the SIMPLICITY of using Artisan and getting my projects done. If I had the amount of free time I had ten years ago, I may be the kind of person who would do things differently. But I definitely don't have that kind of time.
The cool thing is, there are multiple places to get digital content to use in our books and projects:
- Forever.com, of course. They offer content that you can install in one click into Artisan. The best thing is, if you click on the Deals link on Forever's site, every day there is a Deal of the Day, which is usually a 50% off deal for digital content. Check it out!
- CreativeMemories.com. Yes, we can get digital versions of the cool stuff that Creative Memories puts out for their traditional scrapbooking supplies. I am no longer a CM Advisor, but I do have several posts about using their content on this site.
- Pixels2Pages.net. Besides offering great training, p2P gives you a new set of exclusive Blueprints for both 12×12 and 11×8.5 each month. That makes the subscription worth it all by itself! If you are not already a member, make sure to check the Deals page at Forever to take advantage of any current offers for a trial or new subscription.
- CreativeFabrica.com. This is a site full of fonts, clip art and other goodies. My favorite part is the Daily Gifts. You can sign up for the Daily Gifts alert via email or desktop notification and each day CF offers a different free premium font, graphic and craft download. I get most of my fonts this way.
- CreativeMarket.com. This site isn't just for scrapbooking, but I love their stuff. They usually have a monthly heavily discounted bundle that will include things you can use for backgrounds or embellishments and tons of cool Fonts. I love fonts!
There are lots of places to look, but these are my favorites.
Traditional Scrapbooking Supplies
As I mentioned above, I'm still a traditional cropper and always will be. I've been scrapbooking, mostly with Creative Memories, since my oldest was about 9 months old, i.e. 19 years. I love the tools and I love the paper and I love that I can trust the quality of the albums.
If you want to come crop with me, make sure to join my local Facebook Group – Deb's Crop Club.
I am also a huge Cricut fan. This thing is so fun. Just like everybody else, Cricut has monthly deals and some really fun ideas.
You can find out more here: http://www.cricut.com
As you probably know, backup is super important. Historian is wonderful because of the shadow copy feature that makes backup simple to an external hard drive. And your Forever Storage is a very safe system for all of your photos because it is backed up on multiple servers around the world.
But the other things on your computer, like your Artisan projects and other documents, should still be backed up. I always recommend two backups, if possible. One offline, local backup to an external hard drive and one offsite backup in case something happens to your home that would compromise the hard drive backup.
You can't go wrong with a portable external hard drive. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by. You can often find a good deal at your local Costco, or there are multiple options available on Amazon. (affiliate link) You want to make sure when you purchase one that you don't go too small. Look at how much space your documents and files are currently taking and try to double it at least. Especially when it comes to Artisan projects and digital art kits; those are large files.
For a secure offsite backup, I recommend iDrive. They offer great flexibility for sharing and accessing your backup files, plus they offer something called iDrive Express Upload. This is a free service one time per year as a personal user where they will ship a secure drive to you and you can backup up to 3 Tb of files to the drive and send it back to them for upload.
Why would that be a good idea?
Here's why. Depending on your internet service, you likely have a limited amount of data you can use to upload each month. I have a fairly substantial plan but it still limits me to 1.5 Tb per month. So if I need to upload 3 Tbs of data to backup my files, I'm either going to exceed my data limit or it will take me months to accomplish. I tried a different backup service recently (which I did not purchase, as I decided it did not fit my needs as well as iDrive), and it only backed up about 25% of my files before I started receiving daily emails from my internet provider warning me that I was close to the limit and would have an additional charge if I went over. Since the Express Upload service is a complimentary service with my iDrive subscription, it was a no-brainer to try that to get the process started.
Let me know if you would like help setting up your backup plan!